Starting with Sytist version 0.8.6 is the feature to password protect individual photos in a gallery (Passcode Photos). This could be a good alternative to creating individual sub galleries.
How it works is you can apply a passcode to the photo in the title of the photo, as a keyword, or in the file name of the photo. The customer will enter in the passcode in the Find My Photos form then redirected to the gallery and only show the photo or photos with that passcode.
Settings it up in Sytist
When editing a page / gallery in Sytist, there is an option on the right of the page for "Passcode Photos". Set that to Yes. Leave Password Protect to no. You can set this as a default when creating new galleries by editing the section under the Password Protect Pages option. When someone views the gallery they won't see any photos until they enter in their passcode.
In Settings -> Photo Settings you need to determine where you are going to have the passcode.
Getting your passcodes in the photos
1) Before uploading your photos you can add the passcodes to the Title tag of the photos (IPTC / EXIF data) or as a keyword and when the photos are uploaded, Sytist will read that information and save it in the database with the photo information.
2) Add the passcode to the photo file name between dashes. Example: prefix-passcode-dsc_001. Sytist will search for -passcode- when using this method. Example, say the password is abc123, add the passcode to the file name like prefix-abc123-dsc_001
3) Upload a CSV file (spreadsheet in a CSV format) with file name in the first column and passcode is the second column.
The option to upload the CSV file is in the Photos tab when viewing the gallery in the admin and the gallery is marked for Passcode Photos. When using this option the passcode is added to the title of the photo in the database.
You can put all photos in the main gallery or you can put them in sub galleries for your organization. Example:
-> Grade 9
-> Grade 10
-> Grade 11
It really doesn't matter which way you do it because they will only see the photos they have the passcode for.
If there is a group or team photo they need to be able to view, upload that to the gallery as well but with no passcode (no title). When they have access to their photos, they will also see the group photo. The group photo will only be seen by people with a valid passcode.
If you are adding passcodes to the file names, instead of a passcode use group. Example, prefix-group-dsc_001